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Dumspter Fire Update

Many of you here subscribe to this shelter for the politically homeless because you want the (Mostly) Unedited Dumpster Fire, so I feel I at least owe you some kind of explanation for why we haven’t returned to shooting yet. Or maybe I don’t owe anyone an explanation as it’s only been two months since I gave birth—but I feel like I should at least update you as to what’s going on in my head and heart and home.

For a month now, I’ve intended to shoot. And every week either something has happened or I’ve woken up on the shoot day too exhausted to function, let alone turn “on” and shoot a show.

Of all the projects we have here at Phetasy, Dumpster Fire is by far the most labor intensive. It requires getting our list of topics together or putting together “the board” as we call it. We do this Thursday and it takes hours sorting through all the news of the week. Then we have a writer’s room on Friday, usually at night so all the people with real jobs can attend. This is impossible these days as from 6-10 is now the “witching hour” as it’s called when Matilda is either exceptionally needy or completely melts down and transforms into a banshee.

Saturday we shoot and that requires make-up, the production team, and usually takes at least three hours. At least. Sunday is the final edit. It's essentially four days of work. Even pre-baby Dumpster Fire took an enormous amount of energy out of me. Now I don’t even have it to begin with. It also means no one has a day off, ever.

There have been a number of challenges and tragedies that occurred during these postpartum weeks that have compounded the already tough time that is recovering from having a baby. My obgyn died suddenly of a heart attack a month ago today. I adored my obgyn and it was shocking. In fact, I still can’t believe it, even as I sit here writing it.

Then, less than two weeks ago, we found out our beloved Hope has metastatic cancer. So we’ve been dealing with that, getting tests, taking her to vets all over Los Angeles and coming up with a treatment plan. The good news is she’s getting surgery this Wednesday. Her prognosis isn’t horrible if they can remove a lot of the cancer and she responds to the chemo. If you could, please say a prayer for her.

So, needless to say, I just haven’t had it in me. I can only speak for myself, but my experience of having a baby has made me want to turn inward. I am vulnerable and raw and want to protect and shield my baby from the harshness of the world--the harshness I’m exposed to when I enter in the battle that is the culture wars. And they have been particularly ugly lately; in fact I’m glad that my baby came when she did and saved me from all the noise.

Finally, I’m not sure about the future of the show. We will absolutely return and shoot at least a couple more, so don’t worry—but as I’ve had time to step back and evaluate everything in my life, I can’t help but wonder if maybe the season of Dumpster Fire has passed.

From a purely capitalist perspective—it’s not getting more popular. In fact our numbers have been going down consistently. This could be YouTube throttling us or it could be that no one has much of a stomach for a wishy washy centrist during such fiercely partisan times. Or maybe people just think we’re annoying. Or maybe I’m not funny. Maybe I'm reading too much into the algorithm. Either way, after three years, if we are getting less popular, perhaps I have to take a good, hard look at that and accept the reality.

And finally, the world has changed a lot since we started the show in the summer of 2019. It was crazy, sure, but we were mostly making fun of environmentalists super-gluing themselves to the street. There is a darkness now that overshadows everything. Pre-pandemic was bananas but post-pandemic it seems like people have really started to unravel. The level of hatred and rage I see in comments and posts and in real life is unsettling.

Of my many creative endeavors, Dumpster Fire is the only thing that we do that grounds us in the news cycle. And I truly fucking hate the news cycle. I think it's tearing us all apart. I find the culture wars exhausting, depressing and uninspiring. It was something I started because I needed an outlet to scream into the void but I can’t help but wonder now—am I part of the problem? Am I just adding more fuel to the dumpster fire? And the hate?

On top of all of this—we lost our editor, Andy. At least for the summer, I’m not exactly sure when he can return, but it felt like a sign that as I was evaluating the future of this show, our editor quit.

But early motherhood is a lot like early sobriety in that you shouldn’t make any major decisions. I’m grieving. I’m hormonal. I’m healing from a c-section. I’m sleep-deprived. I’m not going to close the doors on Dumpster Fire just yet. Maybe we retool it to something more manageable. Maybe I take the summer off and come back refreshed and ready for the midterms. Maybe we shoot one more and I realize it’s time to say goodbye to the chair in the undisclosed location.

Either way, I felt you deserved to know what’s been going on and what I’m thinking as you’re the Dumpster Fire phamily and you’ve been with us the whole way. We will definitely be shooting at some point in July or August, just to see how it feels. The one thing I don’t want to do is go back before I’m ready and have that taint my decision about the show overall. I want to be excited to be doing it.

I've never done anything just for money and I haven't come this far to start making that choice now. I've always followed my heart and that creative spark that brings me joy.

I appreciate your support and love and patience while I figure it out.

In the meantime, keep on dancing while the world burns.

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Live Streamed on March 9, 2023 11:07 PM ET
Late Night Check In

I've been crazy busy and just want to check in with the Pham

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This week on #FactorySettings @justjeren and I talk about the elephant in the room. MONEY! We talk about when we first became aware of it, how it affected our parents' divorces, how much we spent on our addiction, being dependent, financial insecurity and so much more!

Walk-Ins Welcome w/Thomas de Zengotita

I continue my series with Thomas de Zengotita as we go through his book Mediated chapter by chapter. This week the topic is identity politics and we cover a lot of ground. #WalkInsWelcome

February 09, 2022
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Maybe we should just focus on TV show reviews.

Unedited Check-In #167
December 07, 2021
Unedited Check-In 158

Grandpa's letter home after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

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September 01, 2021
Unedited Check-In 144

Maggie is back! Also: The "No Complaining" challenge.

Unedited Check-In 144

Hello new followers, I hope I don’t disappoint you. I want this place to feel like home, where we can escape the Thunderdome and process the world. Where we can post dog pics and recipes and book recommendations. Where we support each other as we get sober, lose weight, embark on new business opportunities, creative endeavors, relationships and travels. I want this to be your oasis of sanity and laughter in an increasingly mad world. A creative outlet where you can share your spirit with us.

We might not have any control over the news cycle—but we can control our habits and attitude. It all starts with us. And hopefully a little piece of that will start here.

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Mt. Roubideux, Riverside CA

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March 20 - Introvert or Extrovert?
My therapist said I’m an ambivert. My husband laughs at this. “Whatever that means,” he says.

Do parties and crowds fill you with energy, or send you scurrying for peace and quiet?

I definitely get energy from people. Although crowds can be stressful, I love music festivals and concerts at the Hollywood Bowl and conferences like Comic-Con or boondoggles where you can network. Dinner parties are my favorite. I really like events that are about 8-12 people where everyone can have time to talk but can also sit it out entirely and just listen. That seems to be the golden group size for both introverts and extroverts alike.

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March 19 - Menagerie
A Story of Hope

Do you have animals in your life? If yes, what do they mean to you? If no, why have you opted not to?

It’s hard to remember what stories I’ve told and which one I haven’t as we hit 77 days into the daily writing practice that is #writeclub—so I apologize if you already heard this story of how ended up with my dog and why I believe in magic.


It was the end of January of 2015. I was a little over a year of being sober. My friend had recently lost her dog and one night we went to Swingers and she cried and talked about how much she had learned from her dog and how he had saved her. Even though she was in so much pain, I remember being in awe of how much she loved that animal and thought to myself, “Maybe I should get a dog.”

My sister lost her dog around the same time and she was devastated. Her dog had been by her side since college and he was truly her best friend but again instead of being scared off from pet ownership—their grief and love made me curious. In addiction I’d detached from my ability to love anything but there were other reasons I kept dogs at arms length.

We had dogs growing up but, like so much of the other stuff going down, it was dysfunctional. They would get a dog (or two) and then return it for one reason or another. I stopped bonding with them because I knew eventually, they would probably go away. Between the ages of 15 and 19 we had (and returned) six dogs that I can recall. There might have been more that I blocked out but I’m pretty sure that’s the count.

A couple of days after seeing my friend, I returned to my apartment and there was a dog running around the courtyard.

“We can have dogs now???” I asked. The building had recently changed ownership and apparently some of the old policies had been changed—the most important being that no pets were allowed.

“I think I want a dog,” I announced to Maggie later that evening.

“Oh weird you know how much work they are and you can’t just take off and travel whenever you want,” the Voice of Reason reminded me. “And pets are pretty expensive.”

“Yeah, I know but there is something in me that really wants a dog.” I said.

“What kind?” She asked.

“A boxer,” I said, knowing absolutely nothing about boxers other than that they looked fun.

“Oh those are pretty big!” She said. To which I’m sure I launched into my tangent about how little dogs weren’t real dogs or something.

A couple of days later my phone rings and it’s Maggie. “Bridget you aren’t going to believe this but my co-worker found a white boxer puppy today—do you want her? She’s so cute and sweet she doesn’t seem to have any aggression so I think someone will take her fast if you don’t.”

Her co-worker had taken the dog to the local vet to make sure she wasn’t chipped and she said they’d seen her wandering around for about a month. They didn’t pull her off the streets because they said she had a better chance being adopted than if she ended up in a shelter. She was covered in tar and ticks and severely under weight.


Well shit. I couldn’t very well put a request into the universe for a boxer and have it answered a couple of days later and then say, “I’m not ready.” Now could I? So I called Maggie back without much thinking and said I’d take her.

Maggie’s co-worker kept her for the night so I could get sorted. He picked off every single tick. She always loved him for that. I had nothing dog related so I had to get a crate and a bed and all the things. The next day Maggie brought her home from work and we went straight to the vet. She had a messed up stomach parasite and needed food and some vaccinations but overall seemed in good shape.

We went home that night and it was the beginning of me being a dog owner. The first night she slept with her eyes open and it creeped me out. Then I cuddled up with her on the futon and she slept for two days straight. At one point I thought she was dead.


I named her Hope because that’s what she brought me. I was in a particularly dark period of my sobriety and in fact, was struggling to see the point of remaining sober if I was going to continue to be depressed. Because boy was I depressed. Facing the wreckage of my past and what a horrible, selfish piece of shit I’d behaved like for many years, was uncomfortable. I also failed to see a path forward.

Hope grounded me right in the here and now. It was the only place I could be when I was with her and more than anything I needed to be in the moment. One minute. One hour. One day at a time.

I was completely unprepared for how challenging it is to train a feral puppy. I attempted it on my own for a while but by that summer realized I was in way over my head and a friend recommended a trainer—so I sent Hope to summer camp. The timing was perfect because my friend Hani (who I’ve written about before) was dying (and would die in August) and I was moving into a house with a yard with my friend Samantha.


Hard to believe that was eight years ago and now she’s a feisty old lady with cancer. We’ve been through so much together. I realize it’s extremely corny and cliche to say she taught me how to love—but it’s not an exaggeration. When I got sober I didn’t know how to do anything. She taught me how to be a responsible, loving grown-up.

Hope means everything to me and even though it cost me a small fortune to keep her alive—seeing her and my daughter’s relationship blossom is priceless. My daughter’s first word after “mama” was Hope and now she just repeats it all day. “Hope hope hope hope hope,” she says while she crawls around looking for her buddy. There is no husband without Hope. There is no daughter. I’m not sure I would have even stayed sober in those trying early years.

Hope is my everything. As a friend wrote when he lost his dog recently, “Dogs are eternal.”

I sure hope so.



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March 18 - Impossible

“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” –the White Queen, Alice in Wonderland.

What are the six impossible things you believe in? (If you can only manage one or two, that’s also okay.)

  1. People are (mostly) good.

  2. Past lives

  3. Psychic powers

  4. Magic

  5. Fate

  6. Ghosts

  7. That I will do 365 of these writing prompts.

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